Jon Katz writes about Giving Unpleasant People the Benefit of the Doubt. His message is that we should seek to eliminate anger by eliminating fear. As Paladin said, “Never draw in anger. It slows the hand.”
Jon tells a Zen story as an example of a life lived without fear:
A man is chased in the wilderness by two tigers, only to be forced off a cliff, hanging for life from a vine. One tiger waits above and the other waits below for a human meal. Two field mice gnaw away at the vine. The man sees a wild strawberry growing from the side of a cliff, reaches for it, tastes it, and — with his life hanging in the balance — thinks of how delicious the strawberry tastes.
Jon is talking about mindfulness — “living in the moment,” he calls it, with “the fearlessness of a child filled with wonder.” (See also my post about practicing law with a childlike mind.)
When trying a criminal case, you want to do without fear. You do that by just being, as Jon writes, in the moment. When you’re picking a jury, you’re not afraid of doing it wrong; you’re just doing it. When you’re cross-examining a snitch, you’re not afraid; you’re not even thinking about the consequences.
I’m not certain that you’ve “eliminated” fear (that’s a philosophical discussion for another day), but you’ve at least denied it sway over you.